Six months after work began late last August, the lights are likely to be turned on next week, said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works.
In addition to the three-way signals, the project — funded by a $450,000 federal grant — lengthened the left-hand turn lane onto Lockewood Lane and added wheelchair-accessible ramps to the intersection’s crosswalks.
The signals’ activation, Sohriakoff said, was delayed six weeks because their foundations needed to be moved to give underground gas lines more buffer space, something that could not happen until crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. were able to repair and upgrade the overhead power lines to prevent blackouts.
“They had to turn off the lines in that area and re-route the power,” Sohriakoff said. “We had to wait those six weeks while they made the repairs.”
He added that while the foundations’ distance from the gas lines was a matter of a few feet, PG&E restrictions have become stricter, he said, possibly as a result of a gigantic pipeline explosion in San Bruno on Sept. 9, 2010.
Public works crews used the downtime to conduct additional tree-trimming in the area and repair some of the storm drains that had sustained damage.
The additional work prompted the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to approve adding $37,000 to the department’s budget to procure additional construction materials.
Sohriakoff said the signals would not be activated until sometime next week due to forecasts of rainy weather persisting through the weekend that delay crews from completing the finishing touches on the project.
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